The Saskatoon-based company says it has rolled out its Proximity Trace equipment, made by U.S.-based Triax Technologies, to more than 8,000 employees to date and expects to introduce it to 6,500 more in coming months, representing 65 per cent of its global employee base.
Proximity Trace tags are attached to workers’ clothing or hard hats and produce an audio and visual alert to those who come within two metres of one another.
Nutrien says the sensors also automatically log data to allow contact tracing if a positive case is found, helping limit further spread and reassuring those not at risk.
The company says the system is expected to help it minimize operational shutdowns and related costs and product delivery delays from disease outbreaks.
The first sensors were deployed last July at fertilizer plant sites in the United States. They are now to be employed at Nutrien’s potash mines in Saskatchewan and at corporate offices in Colorado, Illinois, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“At the workplace, if you maintain proper physical distancing, then your risk of spreading the virus is very low,” said Dr. Tarek Sardana, a medical expert advising Nutrien, in a company news release.
“I encourage people to think of themselves as if they’re living within six-foot bubbles, and if no one penetrates the bubbles, it’s harder for the virus to spread.”